Load Development Savage 10 FCP/130 Berger OTM

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Welcome to another rambling from Box To Bench Precision.  As I think about many of the things I read on places like Facebook, it becomes necessary for me to back up for a moment and recall what the purpose of B2B really is.

The idea hasn’t changed and we remain committed to sharing knowledge, information, and ideas.  We don’t claim to have all the answers but we sure as heck are looking for them.  What we intend to do is pass on our methods and results from our adventures in reloading, shooting, and even hunting.  Our goal is to shorten learning curves for guys just getting started or picking things back up after a lay off.   We will share what does work for us as well as what hasn’t.  We are not trying to persuade anyone to use our methods or change their own, but simply want to share with others as we go.

Box To Bench Precision picked up a Savage 10 FCP-SR in 6.5 Creedmoor awhile ago and it kind of bounced around somewhat as we just weren’t very happy with how it shot factory ammo.  Nothing at all like the Facebook gang claims of their own experiences with this rifle.  So . . . I ended up with this rifle as my personal project and shot up what ammo was left of the four boxes of factory ammo we got for it.  For the initial testing, it was burdened with a 10x SWFA Super Sniper with high rings right off an AR.  So needless to say, there was zero chance of repeatable (any) cheek weld.  It also had a Harris knock off bipod that was flimsy and pathetic at best.

The rifle has been liberated of the SWFA and cheap bipod, and even the awful brown color that I think is supposed to be flat dark earth.  First thing I did was remove the scope and rings to discover a very loose (as in all 4 screws) rail.  So I ordered a Night Force 20 moa rail and cleaned all screws and screw holes and sopped up the copious amounts of light oil that had been between the top of the action and the rail.  Loctite and torque ended that problem.  Next I painted the stock dark brown with black web and added a Mathews adjustable cheek rest.  Then, the wait was on for the Vortex Gen 2 PST 5-25x50 sfp.  It is now on and sighted in.

So . . . rifle ready for testing and I can’t make up my mind on bullets and brass.  I use Lapua brass for another rifle and know full well how good it is, but I just couldn’t NOT try Peterson Cartridge for the sake of comparison.  So 200 of those with small rifle primer pockets are now on hand, necks turned and waiting on primer pocket uniformer and small .060 flash hole uniformer.  Also, the bullet seater die was back ordered but that just showed up as well.

I went with the 130 OTM Hybrid by Berger because I want a bit more velocity and the form factor of the bullet is actually better than that of the 140 VLD.  My base to lands measures 2.250 and I will set up my first 5 rounds at 2.235 or .015 off the lands.  First powder test will be H414.  I also have H4350 to try and I will get some Reloader 16.  You may have already guessed I want nothing more than to not use what everyone else is using so long as I can get the results I want.  

The test will be conducted for full load development as the rifle now stands with Harris type S leg notch bipod, APA little Bastard brake, NF 20 moa rail, Seekins low precision matched rings, and the Vortex Gen 2 PST.  After complete uniforming of the brass it will be sized using a Redding type S full length bushing die.  Neck tension will be .002.  I will be looking for a velocity of 2825 to 2850 but ultimately settling for the best 5 shot group.  I will compare apples to apples, powder to powder, as I will test all three to the same velocity node if possible.  Testing will be conducted from a bench rest with bipod and rear bag.


If testing doesn’t go as planned, my next move will be to replace the factory recoil lug and barrel nut with the upgraded ones from Northland Shooters Supply, and then dunk it into the M40 style Bell & Carlson stock, or probably better yet…..the  NEW Bifrost stock from GRS.

More to come soon, as testing starts any day now.  

Team B2B


Part 2


More 6.5 Creedmoor FCP-SR :


If you followed the Long Range On-Line Hunting Magazine article on developing the RPR in .243, then you may be familiar with how slow the developmental process can be this time of the year. Working around wind that’s mostly not conducive to shooting groups can be very frustrating. Windows of opportunity are few and brief, but when the wind drops below 5mph, I shoot.

Weather aside, then we face the real problem of being able to get our hands on components we wish to use for testing. I’m 70 rounds in and still looking for a bit more. I am waiting for a jug of Reloader 16 to arrive, and a box of Sierra 130gr TMKs that should follow closely.

The test that involved H414 powder was brief, however I will visit it one more time soon. I tried H414 first, as that was what I was able to get in town. Colville WA. can be a challenging town to find the components everyone wants. The popularity of the 6.5 makes everything related to it fly off the shelves.  

So, along with Petersen SRP brass, Federal GM205M primers, and so far, the Berger 130gr OTM Tactical bullet, pushed by H 4350 powder, results have been mixed. For a bullet that is touted as “NOT” being lands sensitive, it sure as heck seems to be for this rifle. I started at .015 off the lands, went to .040, which was much better, then slipped to .030 which was worse, and .050 which was also worse. Since I had such a limited amount of H 4350, my focus was closer to the lands rather than going out to .080 or more. I may still try that, but for now I went to .010 off and shot a first shot cold bore flyer that messed up an otherwise great 5 shot group. And even so, the 4 shot was ¼ moa and the 5th shot (which was actually the first shot), made it ½ moa. More like what I wanted to see from this rifle, and certainly encouraging. So, from there I went out to .020, and .030 again to make sure I was on the right track, and yes I am. .010 is the clear winner so far, so I tried going in to .005 and that was not as good as .010. Guess what happens now…..I’m out of H 4350 so I will have to revisit it once I get some more.

Now I wait for the Reloader 16 which will push both the 130gr OTM and the Sierra 130 TMK in side by side testing. I have a friend who is having great success with rl 16, as I know many others do as well.

My curiosity is pushed by Reloader 16 and the Sierra TMK. I have used Berger bullets fairly exclusively, so jumping ship for the TMK thing is really hard for me to do, but I must know if it will act a bit more civil in this rifle than the OTM. Ultimately, I go with the best performing load, loyalties aside.

I excitedly look forward to trying another powder and bullet combo, but remain diligent to the effort of comparing them on a level field. Once I find the final velocity node of the H 4350, 130 OTM combo, I will make a concerted effort to test Reloader 16 to the same velocity with both the Sierra and the Berger bullet, along with loading the TMK and H 4350 at the final node.

Hopefully I get the consistent results I seek with the 130gr bullet, but if not, this test will move right along to the 140s…… More to come pending weather and supplies. R @ B2B